I think I come from a place of gratitude. I am very grateful for many things in my life, and that includes the wonderful books that I am happy to read. To have read three fantastic books in a row is a good thing and something to celebrate. So here are three book reviews and even a bonus mini review. You cannot say there are not good writers or books out there, as there are so many that are just waiting to be read. And I always find it fun to read a new novelist, it is like being introduced to a new friend. Enjoy, everybody.

JULIET IN AUGUST by Dianne Warren

This is one of the best books I have read in a long time. This novel is perfect.

I think that writing classes should use this novel as an example what great writing is all about. Just know that no matter what I say about this book, it is even better.

Juliet is not a person, but a small town with 1100 residents in Saskatchewan, Canada. In this part of western Canada is a desert, with lots and lots of sand. The town is fictional, but this area is real. It is a farming community that borders a desert. People are struggling financially and we see this played out in a day and a night in this small town.

In Juliet ,the people are real and ordinary. Nothing spectacular happens here, and that is okay. Because the storyteller gives us such a rich and caring view of these characters, that we don’t want to stop reading.

The writing is just beautiful and feels timeless. Warren takes such care with each perfectly drawn character that it feels like they are people we know or have known.  She gives the reader details that make the story so lifelike and lovely at the same time.

This is Dianne Warren’s first novel and this book was published in Canada with the title COOL WATER. I cannot  imagine what her next novel will be, but I know she now has a fan. I think you will love this too.

THE COLOUR OF MILK by Nell Leyshon

There is a lot of power in this short novel.  It has one of most unique voices in literature today, and because of that, it is a must read. Mary, is fifteen years old in 1830, and she is a farm girl who has been “sold” by her father to the vicar. That means that Mary works as a house maid and her father gets her salary. This is Mary’s story and she is funny, blunt and illiterate. She sees no need to read or write, as she is used to working with her hands and that is all she needs. But Mary is very bright and she quickly begins to learn.

Unfortunately, she also learns about human nature and that not all hearts are good. The reading of this story just flies. It is so eloquent and yet rough. Author Leyshon has created a character that you want to hear from, you want to take care of and you just wish the book was longer. This was a fabulous read.


Laurel thought she always had an ideal childhood. There was always one memory that troubled her and she wished that she could get more answers to that memory. But overall, her life had been relatively happy. She is a successful British actress and she is facing the death of her 90 year old mother. As her mother is dying, she shares things that make Laurel remember that scene from her childhood. She decides to find some answers before her mother dies.

This is not a mystery, in the traditional definition. But it is a family mystery as there are these dangling questions that lead Laurel into her mother’s life when she was a young woman living in London during the second world war.

Kate Morton has given us another strong and interesting story with many little cliffhangers along the way. Every family has secrets but how far do they go and how buried are they? All will be explained in the end.

Recommended reading: another terrific novel is NORTHWEST CORNER by John Burnham Schwartz. This is the story of a father and son and their fractured relationship and troubled past. The story is told from five different people and it is very well done.

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  • Terri D'Orsaneo  On April 4, 2013 at 12:51 pm

    Thanks for the reviews! I already have The Secret Keeper on my Kindle, but will definitely look for Juliet In August. I love getting lost in a good story!!

  • Aledys Ver  On April 4, 2013 at 1:55 pm

    Thanks for these tips Jane, I’m taking note of these books.
    I just finished reading K. Morton’s first (I think it was her first) book, “The House at Riverton” and I am not sure I liked it that much … but I would still like to give her other books a try.

  • Carol  On April 4, 2013 at 4:07 pm

    Thank you, Jane, for the reviews. I’m definitely going to look up the first 2 you mentioned. They sound like good reads. I’m always on the hunt for new books from new authors.

  • karyn  On April 9, 2013 at 3:22 am

    The Canadian one intrigues me.

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